Unless you’re a professional event planner or party monster you probably don’t find yourself looking for party entertainment too often. Should you be in the market for a DJ here are a few things you should know to make your search easier.
1. Types of DJs:
Depending on the event you’re hosting you will need different things from your DJ. You’ll need to think about who you’re guests will be and what type of music should be played. There are many different types of DJs. Headliner, club, mobile, scratch etc. If you are reading this you’re probably in the market for a Mobile DJ. Mobile DJs specialize in performing at private events like weddings, birthdays, graduation… you get the idea. Although you may like the music played by your favorite DJ at the local bar/club. They may not have any experience working with families and may have a limited selection of music and lack the necessary effects and setup. Same thing Headliners and Scratch DJs. They have their place, but it’s not with your Grandma. A good Mobile DJ will have a variety of clean music from the last 50 years. They’ll have all the lighting needed and depending on experience may even be able to help you plan and orchestrate an agenda for the evening.
2. Price vs. Quality:
DJs can be categorized by price. In your search, you’ll find that the cost of a mobile event DJ can range from as little as a few hundred dollars and several thousand. Although it’s important to consider your budget, it’s more important to consider what you’re getting and what you need. Weddings typically cost more than birthday parties because they are a lot more work. Here are a few price ranges and explanations of what to expect:
– $500 or less: Like with everything in life “you get what you pay for” if you are hiring someone for less than $500 they are either just starting, or not very good. You run the risk of them having the low-quality equipment, unfiltered music, and an inability to perform well. Although they are diamonds in the ruff if it’s important that your guest don’t hear swear words and you want the music to sound great, you may want to expand your budget or consider the DIY approach.
DJs who charge this amount vary in skill level, but they often include many features. They may be full or part-time and are likely to have good equipment and a good selection of clean music. They’ll use contracts and are often hands down the best value for your event. You’ll want to ask if the DJ will be an employee, partner, or the business owner. You will often get a better experience if the person you are speaking with is the person who will be perfuming at your event. Just make sure that you feel comfortable with hiring them before placing a deposit.
-$1200 or more:
DJs and DJ companies in this price range often have a base charge for your event and offer a number of add-on features. They are full-time DJs or employees who perform multiple times per week. If you need a lot of glam, only the best in audio and lighting, or an especially skilled performer, then this is the range you’ll want to consider. Prices start around $1200 for basic service, but you can add on many extras. The only downside is that they often lack the personal touch you get with an owner-operator with fewer clients.
3. Know Your Needs:
Only you know what you want out of your event. Besides your budget, you’ll want to consider what type of event you’re having (i.e. birthday, wedding, family reunion etc.) How formal will the event be? Will you use an event planner? Will there be announcements or toasts? What time of day will it be? Who will be in attendance? You’ll want to find a DJ that matches your event not just your budget. If it’s night time or in a darker room, you’ll need lighting; Announcements or toasts, you’ll need microphones; Formal affairs require formal clothing etc. If you are not sure what else you may need to think of you can always call a DJ and ask.
4. Insurance Insurance Insurance:
This is pretty simple, but if your DJ does not carry liability insurance they are not professional and may not be able to play at your venue. Many venues require entertainers to carry a policy with $1 million or more in liability.
5. It’s All About You:
When you reach out to someone about entertainment. Make sure they are paying attention to your needs. If they are focused on how great they are and what they can do instead of what you need and want, then you’re not speaking to the right person. A good DJ will take the time to get to know you and your needs. They will help you determine if they are the best fit or recommend someone or something else. Often after speaking with a client, we find that we may be the perfect fit for each other. They may need more effects than we offer, more performers than we have, or we may be out of their budget. What I’ve found is that sometimes even though we’re not the perfect fit, by focusing on our clients’ needs we can point them in the right direction and earn the opportunity to work with them again in the future.